John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Class 2

Early Days
See also School: Class 2.
See also Alison King.










September 1959
 1. Early in September 1959, I went into the penultimate class at Church Road County Primary School, Class 2. The teacher was tall, sparely built Mr. F. R. Robinson, with greying hair and a bald crown.
 2. It may have been[i] in Class 2 that we learned of the travels of St. Paul, and also of the rise of “Mohammedanism”. The fact that I couldn’t remember the name of the angel that appeared to Mohammed, and wrote “Georgina”, may account for my gaining only 19 marks out of a possible 20 in the July exam.
[i] Compare Class 1, par. 1, to see why I say, “may have been”.

 3. We looked at North America: I specifically remember references to “prairies” and the vast wheat-cultivation there, and storage in what were called “elevators”. I was intrigued by the story of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and by some of the names along it, like “Moose Jaw” and “Medicine Hat”; and remember drawing a mountain in section with a spiral rail tunnel passing through it.

Peter Pan
 3A. My first hearing the story of Peter Pan is associated, in my mind, with Mr. Robinson, perhaps when I was in Class 2: I can almost hear his voice, telling us that there were two versions of the story, and expressing the view that the better one was by J. M. Barrie. He did say who wrote the other one, but I can’t remember. I thought it might be A. A. Milne, but can’t find any references to this. Perhaps Mr. Robinson was referring to the abridged version by May Byron. (J. M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan: or, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up originally in 1904 as a stage-play, then published the novelisation of it, Peter and Wendy, in 1911. The novel was abridged, or “retold for little people”, in 1915, as Peter Pan and Wendy, by May Byron.) I think I enjoyed the part of the story where Wendy gets shot with an arrow.[ii]

[ii] Compare Class 4, pars. 10 and 11B.

February 1960
 4.
The report to my parents following the examinations in February 1960 stated: “John is an intelligent boy. He continues to produce work of excellent quality, but he must concentrate on a little more speed” — almost exactly the same as Miss Hough’s report the previous July, in Class 3: “John continues to make excellent progress but he must work a little faster!”; and comparable to Mrs. Jackson’s, in February 1958: “During term he has been rather slow at completing his exercises, and whilst they have been beautifully done I do think a little more speed will be essential later on.”

Monday 30th May 1960
 5. In May 1960, Nanny and Grandad Paine brought back for Steven and me poetry manuscript books from their holiday in Germany. We used them as autograph books; and on Monday 30th May 1960 I took mine to school and got Mr. Robinson, my class-teacher, to sign it. I didn’t invite any of my classmates to do the same, though.[more]
July 1960
 6. In July 1960, Mr. Robinson was “very pleased to note a little ‘speeding up’.”
Tuesday 26th July 1960
 7.
As in every year but one at Church Road, I came top of the class and, as in Class 3, I got a “real” book, as opposed to the large, thin, fully illustrated books I got in the earlier years. It was a book on astronomy entitled The Starry Heavens.[iii]
[iii] For events following this, see My poetry manuscript book: Saturday 30th July 1960.

Flyleaf, showing book-plate


Title-page


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